IT Security Staffing Bounces Back

December, 2010

The percentage of IT staff devoted to security increased sharply in 2010, in a reversal of recent trends. The implication is that as organizations become leaner, they are maintaining a focus on security and security-dedicated personnel.

Our study, IT Security Staffing Ratios, finds that security staffing as a percentage of the total IT staff increased from 1.8% in 2009 to 2.2% in 2010, as shown in Figure 1.

Systems Fig1 - IT Security Staffing Bounces Back

This ratio had been declining over the previous two years. What we may be seeing is a return to the level where it has been for most of the decade. Our study limits the security staff category to security professionals dedicated to auditing, managing, developing, and implementing security policies, processes, and technologies.

The question of how many security professionals an organization needs is complex one. Security begins at the top. A commitment from executive management is required to create a culture of security that ensures procedures are enforced, audits are taken seriously, and investments are made in personnel, training, services, and technology. That commitment undoubtedly has more bearing on security than staffing levels.

In the full study, we help IT executives assess their security staffing needs by providing benchmarks for security staffing levels. We do this by providing four metrics. These include security staff as a percentage of IT staff, IT security staff per infrastructure staff, users per IT security staff members, and network devices per IT security staff member. We also examine the number or organizations that have IT security staff and the frequency and amount of IT security outsourcing. We conclude with our assessment of current trends in security staffing.

This Research Byte is a brief overview of our report on this subject, IT Security Staffing Ratios. The full report is available at no charge for Computer Economics clients, or it may be purchased by non-clients directly from our website (click for pricing).

Do you also need staffing ratios for other IT job functions? Consider this collection of all of our staffing ratio reports, which bundles them all into a single report at a significant discount: IT Staffing Ratios–Special Report Bundle.